A phenomenal woman.
Marguerite Ann Johnson walked in many shoes. It was the last half of her life that we all revel in, respect and came to fondly know her for. Her claim to fame, though she would likely tell you different, reminds you of inaugural speeches, countless appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and of course her famed national bestsellers I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings & And I Still Rise. Marguerite Ann Johnson, better known as Maya Angelou walked in many shoes before then. With more than 80 appearances every year, country and worldwide- she made sure you had the chance to hear her voice if you so chose to.
There is plenty to read about on her long life. Her being molested and raped by her mother’s boyfriend after her parents divorced, her becoming a mute for 5 years as a result where she gained a love for reading classical literature, her working as the first Black streetcar conductor in San Francisco before she graduated high school, her brief marriage to a Greek sailor after the birth of her son- the list goes on. Even reading very brief summaries of her life you’d understand she had plenty of experiences to gain her wisdom from.
This is why we aren’t likely to see another like her in our lifetime.
She had friends by the name of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and James Baldwin and others. These were great men who held the influence over many during the most volatile times for African Americans. Through their experiences she was further encouraged and inspired to let others know the strength and hunger they had from being denied basic rights for so long. There was no such thing as separate but equal. She was able to articulate this in a way that no other poet could. She often touched on ugly topics but they were the truth- things we as a country and supposed ‘now unified’ nation needed to hear.
Come to think of it, she was kind of like the great-aunt who reminds of the truth regarding our history, our responsibility and our souls.
I have yet to see another rise from similar circumstances, with similar great leaders and be able to share with the younger generations the way that Maya Angelou has for the last few decades. It must’ve been an honor to sit in a lecture hall at Wake Forest University and listen to her teach sensitive topics in way that only she can. I have to admit there was something in the way Angelou spoke that grabbed your attention. She seemed totally approachable though- someone to talk over coffee with while you soak up the knowledge.
While no one can argue that her life was cut short, 86 years is a true blessing- there’s still a gaping hole left in the writing world. Thankfully, Maya Angelou left us with plenty of material to reflect on. Personally I’m sure I’ll make room to reread Caged Bird and be grateful this wise woman existed and gave us all a chance to see things from her unique point of view.
You can easily take a look at her works and purchase them at Amazon.com, I’ve provided the link here:
I know, I know… There are already like, a million reality shows on TV right now. Some shows literally follow people around with cameras waiting for drama and action to happen while others are competitive, non-celebrity participants (at least before the show). Others give you a show through dancing and singing and whatnot.
I don’t watch any of them (insert gasp).
I always tell people when they give me ‘that look’ for not being one of the millions of viewers most evenings of the week that I’m too busy living my own life to spend time watching someone else live theirs. I work full time, own a very demanding dog, enjoy travelling, writing, and am trying to grasp the concept of blogging as my new hobby. This made me wonder though; what kind of show would mine be like if I were to have a television show of my own?
Most days people who know me well would say I’d be fitted well for a comedy show. Think “Scrubs” or some other scripted/internally monologued show and perhaps even include the hospital theme since that’s along the line my work as a surgical instrument technician BUT with a lot less down time, income and presitige. I mean for crying out loud I call my department ‘the boat rowers’ because we are located beneath where all the fame and glory occurs. SPD= Sterilization, Processing and Distribution or whenever the folks in the operating room wanna go upper class they say ‘stupid people downstairs’ (go ahead, laugh… we’re used to it). No one thinks about us during their visits to the hospital but no one wants an infection. None of the action one would expect in a hospital show goes on where I work so with the need to keep ratings in mind, I’d argue my show would primarily need to occur somewhere else.
Perhaps it could be a drama. I’ve walked the fine line of life and death before- after recovering from an aneurysm I’d say I’m pretty experienced at deathbed scenes and looking ill. I’ve also had ups and downs relationship wise (none of the downsides were my fault- ha!). Maybe it would be something Lifetime would pick up and they could feature the constant concerns I have about my own future and those around me- how I always end up giving advice to people when I’ve never been in the situation they’re experiencing- how most times when I need advice the show’s sound techs could chime in the violins or crickets. Eh, it’d be depressing to re-live and come to think of it I hate dramas.
Or maybe it could be on an action channel like Spike or FX. Wait. I don’t do much action and adventure. I’ve never gone skydiving, swam with sharks, made deals with the mob, saved the world or saved anyone from any inherent danger EXCEPT when I saved my mother while she was trying to put out a fire and the time my neighbor walked in on a burglar. But those incidents occurred years apart from each other and the viewers of action and adventure want to see a little more action, more often than that.
Who would star in the show? Or would I act as myself? Hmmm… People say I look a lot like one of the characters on that show Grey’s Anatomy (you guess which one). Maybe I could call her up and see if she’d be willing. Something tells me she’d be out of my salary range though….
I’d so be game for it to be a half season show with 6 episodes every 6 months. Let’s keep it short and sweet. I wouldn’t allow myself or my family to be exploited nor would I want to allow for any accidental messages to be sent out to my audience. I guess the theme would be about a life that has obstacles like everyone else but with hard work, family and a spiritual center- one can get by just fine. I wouldn’t want it to focus solely on rewards through materialism. There would be minimal advertisements during the show and perfection would not be emphasized. If you think about it, most of the shows that are on right now focus on materialism; managing the over-sized house(s) expensive car(s) and other over-priced name brands.
I’ll be honest I’m camera shy. They’d have a heck of a time trying to find me and I’d probably make a game of hiding throughout the filming of it until whatever network I was on decided to cancel my show- which would likely be pretty quick. The media would probably feature a short article online about my short-lived series along with the others that got cut-off that season. They’d call me a loser and perhaps take a guess at which direction my career/life would go. Perhaps members of my family in their vanity would try to get a show of their own. The overall message would be that I lost. Guess what? I’d disagree. With one less reality show there’d be more opportunity for folks to do what I said above in the very beginning when it comes to the reason I don’t watch reality TV: to get out and live your own life. 😛
Do tell me- what kind of show would your life be like?
The idea of blogging seems pretty easy although at this moment I’d say I know very little about managing one. WordPress states that over 100,000 blogs are created everyday on this site. It seems everyone, especially those involved in any segment of writing uses blogging or reads someone else’s blog. After using Google to track down relevant posts about it, I’ve walked away with the notion that blogging is the equivalent of breathing for most writers as we have to step beyond their own works and use this tool to connect with readers globally. Learned theme: I am a writer so I must engage in this too :). How cool is that?
I reside in the now warmer-than-last-month city of Minneapolis. Having been indoors for the last 6 months writing is going to be a challenge the next few weeks. In fact, doing anything indoors is going to be a challenge when the warmth draws you outside and away from a computer screen like a gourmet dinner for someone who’s been on a two day fast.
After a brain aneurysm rupture in 2006 and the subsequent many months of recovery, I set a goal of writing a book. Originally the goal was one fiction and one nonfiction of any genre. I’ll tell you this, after struggling with short term memory loss, regaining it is the best present- ever. Everyone including one of my doctors naturally assumed the first thing I’d want to write about would be centered around surviving that horrible ordeal. Although I’m aware how lucky I am- for now, I don’t want to write about that. It’s something I’d want to address in literary form at a later time. I ended up writing about something fictionally opposite: zombies!
At the time I started writing- it was out of stress relief. I was taking a full course load including biology and chemistry during the day at a local private college and working full time overnights at my current place of employment. In between trying to keep up on laundry and regular meals and sleeping… you get the picture. Sometimes beautiful things can emerge from chaos. I look back at when I started writing my first novel and I wonder how I did it?
The best answer to that now would be because writing is one of the things a person has total control over. As the story grows in length and in detail, one can’t help but fall in love with the whole process and become entwined with the development and storyline. In a writer’s mind characters become real people. As a writer I wanted people to connect and believe in the story- just as if I were describing real events. It’s a passion and I can only tell others who don’t write because they are apprehensive- just give it a try and stick with it for a while. Heck, blog about it!
While I’ll definitely talk plenty about my first novel creation later- for now I tell you it’s called Affliction and is being published by DonnaInk Publications, L.L.C this coming summer. As for my free time activities- I enjoy reading, traveling and enjoying whatever that’s good around me. Blogging is one of the things I want to conquer. Through this, I hope to cover different topics in the literary world, keep readers up to date about my own writing ventures and perhaps learn a few new things along the way. 🙂